After the success of last week’s interview with Charlotte from Smoothie PR, this week’s interview is with the lovely press team at icelolly.com. Icelolly.com are the kings of blogger outreach and have an amazing influencer network with a regular newsletter that goes out to bloggers too. I asked them to share exactly what they look for from travel bloggers and what makes the perfect email pitch. Travel bloggers, this is an absolute must read for you guys! To make sure you don’t miss out on more brand interview and opportunities, make sure you sign up for my Sunday newsletter.
Q: Hi guys! Can you tell me all about how about the team at icelolly.com works with bloggers?
Over the last couple of years, we have made a conscious effort to turbo charge our blogger outreach programme. This has included organising numerous blogger stays with a variety of different individuals/groups, hosting our own bi-annual blogging event (Blog At The Beach) in and around the icelolly.com
HQ, sending around a regular email to our blogger database with the latest news, events and opportunities and smaller collabs including Instagram takeovers and guest posts.
Q:I’ve noticed you have worked with lots of travel bloggers- when did you start working with bloggers and what’s the decision behind that?
We initiated our blogger outreach programme roughly two and a half years ago. The main reason behind this was because we really see the benefit of building a positive rapport with influential individuals within the travel industry and the various collabs we’ve organised have helped to up our UGC no end. Namely through guest posts and Instagram takeovers, both of which have contributed towards an increase in weekly blog page views and general Instagram engagement/followers. Members of our team have also been involved in the blogging game away from work and really appreciate the influence brands can have on individual blogs/bloggers.
Q. What do you look for when selecting bloggers to attend your lovely press trips?
We want to work with bloggers that we feel represent our core brand values, these being; inspiring, independent, quality and playful. We’re a quirky brand that intends to come across playfully whilst inspiring our users and offering honest, independent views on destinations, resorts, holiday types etc. It also helps if we actually know the blogger we are sending away on a press trip as it is difficult to select a brand ambassador otherwise. This is why we often encourage bloggers to get in touch with us via email, social media or by attending our events. Even dropping in with a simple ‘hello’ or ‘great blogger email’ etc from time to time means a lot to us and helps build the initial foundations. If we don’t know somebody, it’s hard for us to judge whether they will be the right fit for our opportunities/collaborations!
Q:Is it important for bloggers to have a niche? Do you go for sole travel bloggers or are you open to lifestyle bloggers too?
It’s important to specialise in a certain area to an extent but we also feel you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself too much and alienate a bigger potential audience. We have worked with a variety of bloggers in the past including travel, lifestyle and fashion specialists and we like to see ourselves as pretty open to a lot of different niches. As we are obviously a travel company, we would prefer some travel blogging experience when working with somebody but this isn’t necessarily a necessity. It can often differ from campaign-to-campaign.
Q: Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?
The obvious answer to this question would be yes. Most people look at sheer numbers and come to certain conclusions based on how big (or small) a social media following somebody has for example. However, would you rather have 100k followers and a 1% engagement rate or 10k followers and a 20% engagement rate? If you have a dedicated blog readership, the stats will look after themselves so often it’s not worth getting stressed about numbers. Just concentrate on your output, making it more relatable or current to people for example, and always remember blogging should be something you enjoy. We don’t tend to focus on numbers at all – for us it’s about the individual, the relationship we have, how proactive they are and how they fit in with our brand values.
Q. Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?
We sure do! Often we’ll present ideas and select bloggers from there that we feel would be a good fit, however, we’re not arrogant enough to believe we have all the best concepts. Somebody may have a killer idea for a working partnership, so we’d always encourage conveying this and not just sitting on it. We do get a lot of pitches so it’s impossible to go through with them all but that doesn’t mean we don’t consider blogger suggestions.
You need to have built some kind of relationship beforehand ideally. Think of it like cold-calling; if a company you’ve never heard of rings, how likely would you be to go through with whatever it is the person at the other end of the phone is selling or proposing? This is why we encourage conversation with bloggers, make yourself known by chatting to us on social media (we host a monthly Twitter chat for example that lots of bloggers get involved with!) or simply dropping us a quick email. Other than that just be enthusiastic with the idea you are pitching, show an interest in our company, present examples of your work and/or a synopsis of how and why you think we’ll be a good fit.
Q: Have you ever had bad experiences with bloggers? What do you wish bloggers wouldn’t do?
We wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences but some can be harder to deal with than others – sometimes through no fault of their own however. We understand lots run their blog as well as holding down a full-time job so time constraints can have an impact on certain things. Our only ask is deadlines are stuck to for guest posts for example and no ‘cold-calling’. Drop in a few times with a simple tweet or hello so we know who you are before getting to business-like with pitches!
Q: Do you find us ‘micro’ influencers can be just as beneficial as big bloggers?
Most of the bloggers within our database would probably be described as ‘micro’ so yes, absolutely. At the end of the day, we’re a fairly small business so we know what it can be like as the little fish in a big pond. Would we rather work with 100 ‘big’ bloggers once and never hear from them again or 1,000 ‘micro’ bloggers multiple times through stays, events, Twitter chats, Instagram takeovers etc and build a strong relationship going forward? Certainly the latter! It helps to build brand advocates over a longer period of time.
Q: How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?